Daylilies are in full bloom for gardener

Sunday, July 7, 2013 | 7:17 p.m. CDT
Blaise Brazos and Susan Kitchen work on Brazos' garden filled with daylilies Sunday. The duo removed daylilies so they could spray pesticide that will kill trumpet vines and separated some of the clumps of daylilies. Brazos cross-pollinates his flowers to produce blooms that have the physical characteristics he wants. He named one breed "rounded orange."

COLUMBIA — Blaise Brazos, 63, has three gardens blooming with daylilies of more than a thousand varieties. 

The first is in front of his house on Broadway, home to 2,500 main varieties  — those officially registered — and 2,000 seedlings of varieties he produced himself. He also has two half-acre gardens, one on Spencer Avenue and one on Clinkscales Road.

He said gardening keeps him out of trouble. He also said it allows him to exercise and be creative.

Brazos has been growing daylilies for the past 15 years, ever since he received 15 plants as a housewarming gift from his stepmother. He was told to make his new place beautiful. The next time he went to her home, he left with 100 flowers.

Since then, he has become vice president of the Central Missouri Hemerocallis Society. It was through the society that he met Susan Kitchen. She assists him with weeding the garden as a part of her community service for a master gardening night class at MU. The class meets once a week for five hours. Students learn about plants, soil and gardening.

Brazos has repeatedly won the Stout Medal, the highest award the society gives to a gardener for crossbreeding daylilies. In 2oo2, he produced 16,000 flowers he had crossbred, he said.

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